Thread lace and beads

Oh my word–making huge pieces of thread lace is a never ending project! I’ve never made anything but some small leaves before and making this huge sheet is taking way too long. If I had known at the beginning….in the category of  lessons learned, I’d really have gone about it in a different way.

My goal was to create sheer, shiny fabric to attach to the silk background already made. It would need to have beads on it, but those could be supported by a grid of beading thread as the beads were added. Okay–that was the plan. Using up tons of fibers and threads seemed like such a bonus, too.

I wasn’t too far into it before I realized that the threads alone would not create a strong enough fabric.

Adding a sheer fabric back was about the only answer I could come up with. Had I started with the fabric, I would have added light fusible and fused those fibers to it. Still would have added the stabilizer and the stitching, but maybe not as much stitch and maybe not so many thread/stitching frustrations. Next time for sure…

I stitched for hours, free form sewing and finally thought it might hold together. Then I added a grid of stitches just to feel better about it!

And suddenly it was time to bite the bullet, call it good and wash away the stabilizer!

It’s sheer, shiny and looks different from every angle. Can’t really show that in photos, but I think it’s going to work. We’ll judge the strength as I start assembling and adding those heavy beads!

Speaking of which…I have a few choices to make!

I always start by pulling anything that I think might have any possibility of working with my fabrics and colors…and because I have accumulated so many beads, that can become a large pile!

 

I almost immediately eliminated the darker gold beads and the darkest blue beads. The thread fabric changes color with every viewing angle, so most any color should work! I thought about green, but didn’t really have a good green jump out at me.

  

These three were ‘finalists’ and all looked pretty good. Then I kind of thought all white would really be best and spread these out.

The white along with some off-white looks like the solution. Sparkle all the way through and no dramatic color to draw the eye. The piece is going to reflect a snow storm, so the whiter the better………………..I think! It may yet change as I progress with the beading, but that’s the plan right now.

And I got to spend the whole day in the studio! Thought I was going to have most of the week in the studio, but I forgot to put several things on my calendar. So I’m extra grateful to have had today and to have progressed so far. There is no ‘fast’ in this project, so I will either post it so much that you will get sick of it, or I will try to restrain myself and there will not be as many posts.

But I know myself well enough to know that I will work on more than one project at the same time, so there should be something else to look at soon!

 

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Threads and more threads

Have you ever made thread lace? With the water soluble stabilizer? I decided that was what I wanted for my curvy silk piece so I jumped right into creating it.

It started with the idea of a grid of beads and beading thread and then I figured it might be sturdier with a base of fabric,  but I wanted to keep the sheer idea of the bead grid, so….thread lace.

I have this cone of superfine ‘fiber’–one of the many items I’ve acquired over the years. Don’t know exactly what it is, but it shimmers and shines like a hologram so it seems perfect for this.

I’ll tell you one thing–that cone holds a whole lot of fiber, but it’s not enough to make thread lace.

I have a few spools of shiny specialty threads that I have not been successful in using, so I decided to throw them into the mix, too.

Then you layer the top with another piece of stabilizer, pin-pin-pin and start stitching.

I begin with a grid, but all those loose threads must be stitched closely together enough to hold up as a fabric after the stabilizer is washed away. It’s hard to see in photos, but this is the beginning of that stitching.

I tried using invisible thread for my grid, but kept having trouble with it. I have trouble with it on regular fabric, too, and hate it so it didn’t take me long to switch. I gave up on some of the transparency in favor of no thread breakage and used Bottomline. The fill in stitching is done with silver and I don’t think thread alone is going to do the job!

I found a tiny piece of this sheer poly, which has the same holographic shine as the mystery fiber.

I think it will be perfect to use as a base, if I can find some of the same or something similar. It will continue my sheer theme as well as make a better support for the bead grid that is still in the works!

But there’s a snow storm today, so fabric shopping will have to wait for clear roads! I am not a patient person when I have to stop in the middle of an active sewing day and wait for something that is totally out of my control. Grrrrr! But what about the other half of the split project? I could work on it, but I think I need to look at those sheers in the store for that one, too.

I guess I’ll have to keep myself busy using up the yarn stash. I can knit in front of the fireplace while it snows.

I Love Ironing

Really-I love ironing. Maybe because when I iron, it’s new fabric that I washed or newly dyed fabric. I use the time for planning and plotting new projects, and in the winter, I love the warmth of the fabric and the iron!

Today I ironed the newly dyed fabric. There really is not a huge difference between snow dyeing results and regular dyeing results, EXCEPT when using anything other than pure colors. The cold makes the colors split and sometimes give cool crystal effects. These are the two very best pieces that I got this time.

But there was a bit of weirdness when I started to iron them. They stretched. Like legging fabric. Totally NOT my quilting cotton. They were in a stack of fabric given to me so I just threw them in the dye pot without paying any attention. They are really beautiful, but I don’t even know what to do with stretch fabric anymore!

One stack was previously dyed and came out mostly brown and teal. I threw some bright colors of dye in that tub and I was surprised by how much color showed and how it really perked up that whole bunch of fabric.

Some reds, and one larger piece from the tub that was too pink even for me, and I like pink!

Yellow, bronze, orange, lemon–with a bit of turquoise that flew over from the next tub–came out great!

And it’s a very large piece!

But the gray that I was expecting…not so great. I used gray, raven and better black dye powders on muslin and thought it would come out as shades of gray from light to charcoal. Not so much–gray, green, lavendar, black and even a touch of blue!

It’s very mottled and a good use for it does not immediately spring to mind. Perhaps it needs another overdye with only the gray to pull it together a bit more.

And I ended my day with pics of a couple of finished pieces. I never took a final shot of Gypsy Garden, so here it is.

And Lakeside is finished, too!

The decks are cleared to begin something new! Hooray! I have a project that’s been nagging at the back of my mind since last summer. I think it’s time to get to it!

No sew Monday!

It was supposed to be a day to finish up my Lakeside piece, but, as usual, I got distracted. However, it wasn’t for anything fun. Nope–it’s that time of year to get the rat’s nest of paperwork organized for taxes. Really wish I was more organized throughout the year, but at least the stuff is all in the same drawer/pile/folder–that’s what the messy desk area is for, right?

It’s something we all have to get done, and I’m almost there, so it wasn’t a totally bad morning.

It’s snowing, too. Soft and beautiful. So what do we do when it snows and we spent the whole morning on paperwork?  SNOW DYE!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOORAY!!!!

When I look at the picture, I feel like it’s a big waste of dye powder, because it seems like I put it on a little thick this time. Oh, well…I have a lot of fabric in the tubs and we’ll just have to see how it turns out!

That’s the excitement of dyeing…the unknown! And now I do have a bit of time if I want to sew a bit…but I know better than to try that anywhere around that dye table. So I think the rest of today is Designated Couch Potato Day, TV time and laziness. Ain’t retirement grand?!!!

By the way, have I ever told you that you can follow what I post on Instagram, too? I’ve only been doing that recently, but it’s easy, so I’m sure I’ll do it a lot more.  https://www.instagram.com/quirksltd/

Next time we’ll see what this snow dye day produced!

 

Sittin’ by the lake…

That’s what I feel like when I’m looking at this piece. I think it’s done, except for the mounting!

Since it’s part of a challenge, one of the rules was to finish with raw edges, no binding. Not a problem for me, since I love those raw edges, but it was stitched without a backing, since I didn’t know how I would finish it. I believe I have it figured out, but haven’t had time to actually TRY it out. Some days there are just not enough hours!

My water and sky were large areas of the total, but I didn’t want to make them focus areas. Similar big stitching, fat threads got the job done and I’m excited to get it finished!

Water

Sky

You never know where a little challenge in your art group will lead! I love this piece!

Okay, I tried it.

I tried alcohol inks and they are not going to be part of my regular work. Nope.

Quite a while ago I showed you my clean out of a container of inks put onto deli paper and they were very interesting. Last week we played with the inks at art group.

Playing with them is super fantastic fun and the end products that I got are very pretty.

On tiles–they were beige, so the colors didn’t stand out as much.

On Yupo paper–nice and bright.

And on a canvas–I really like this one.

I did not try it on regular fabric, either plain or treated with a coating. And I have decided that I am not thrilled enough to devote the amount of time and study that would be required to become proficient with them–to try to control the uncontrollable. I will admire and enjoy the results others have and continue my experiments in other areas!

Speaking of which—I have a boatload of fused, sheer strips that I cut for a project and did not use up. I thought I’d throw a few onto the piece I’m playing with to see if that’s the direction I want to explore.

I don’t know yet, but it’s not a total negative! My problem right this instant is that the piece is very large and will require a lot of time and work. I might not be ready to commit to that, but I don’t want to do a quickie something just to have it done. This may be sitting and marinating for a while………..

Busy weekend

Yep, this was a busy weekend. Hockey games Friday and Saturday night, Quilt Guild meeting Saturday morning, ice festival in the afternoon, and workshop all day Sunday. Whew!

Happily, I am not too tired to keep stitching. You need to check out Michelle May at The Raspberry Rabbits so you can check out what we did!

I’ve not worked with wool in this manner before and actually went to class wanting to do everything as differently as possible from my normal.

I chose muted colors of wool and neutral colored thread and had a lovely time. I could have finished in class but I wanted a size and color of bead that Michelle did not bring with her. But, oh my, did she ever bring tons and tons of stuff!

This was the first time I came to a class only needing scissors. We paid for a kit and then had our choice of wool, thread and embellishments. Soooooo easy! I will admit that I was skeptical at first, but at this point, if you are a program chair or know one, I highly recommend hiring Michelle May! Delightful and what she teaches is inspiration, not whatever kit it is that you choose.

And now I’m sitting at home, in front of the fire, adding some beads and planning on enjoying the rest of the evening. Aaaaaaaaaaahhh!